Win over Cowboys cements Eagles' status as legit Super Bowl contender

AP Images

Win over Cowboys cements Eagles' status as legit Super Bowl contender

Philadelphia sports fans have earned the right to lack optimism when it comes to their teams. Years and years of heartache, disappointment, expectations and injuries have brought about a psyche of waiting for the safe to drop on their heads.

That next shoe will be dropping any time now. Some would describe the collective sporting outlook as “Negadelphia” and there is some truth that. There are some fans in this city that can tend to see the mole on the supermodel. But for the most part, they’ve come by their skeptical point of view through good ole fashion practice and repetition.

Randall Cunningham in 1991, the 2011 Phillies, the Tampa NFC title game, Joe Carter, Leon Stickle, Patrick Kane. Those names and events leave scars. And I’m one who generally subscribes to the never-get-ahead of yourself philosophy. But what I’m about to say flies in the face of even my own personal creed.

They are that good. Say it to me, they are that good.

One more time, they are that good.

Speaking of the 9-1 Eagles, of course. The same Eagles team that has scored 320 points through 10 games. The most in the NFL and in franchise history through that span of games. The same Eagles team that is eighth in points allowed and the best in the league against the run. They're tied for the fourth-most sacks. And, oh yeah, their quarterback has 25 touchdowns to five interceptions and is the frontrunner for the MVP.

Did I mention the coach?

Doug Pederson has pushed every right button. Take Sunday vs. the Cowboys for example. The Eagles' offense was listless and struggling in the first half. They managed only seven points, even after being gifted two turnovers.

Pederson didn’t feel the need to flip tables or make some drastic adjustments, he simply instructed his players to stay the course, to believe in what they’ve done all season. The Eagles outscored Dallas, 30-0, in the second half (see story).

The point is, they are a complete team. They've won eight in a row. They're 4-0 in the NFC East, 7-0 in conference and 4-1 on the road. They are not a fluke.

And it's OK to enjoy this.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to smell the roses with this special team. Live in the moment. Revel in it, in fact. This doesn't happen very often. Let's get ahead of ourselves a little.

I know you've been burned in the past. I know the futility of never winning a Super Bowl and going 40-plus years without a Cup or more than 30 years without an NBA championship can beat you down. But savor this.

In the history of the Eagles organization, which dates back to 1933, the club has gotten off to a 9-1 start five times. The previous four seasons, they've won a championship twice and twice they've been to the Super Bowl.

Does that mean this team is guaranteed anything? No.

The playoffs and a division title are a pretty good assumption at this point, beyond that all bets are off. Injuries are always the x-factor, home field, etc., we know all the requisite reasons why things can change quickly especially in that league.

But that same logic applies to every team. The Eagles have overcome losing their future Hall of Fame left tackle, their middle linebacker and do-it-all running back/return man and have yet to lose without them. You’re not jinxing or mushing them by believing in them and puffing your chest out a little.

This team is built for the long haul, they are young and good in most positions, which bodes well for the future. But we’re dealing in the here and now and this team has a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing. And it’s OK to say out loud.

They are that good.

Eagles' Super Bowl odds dip after Carson Wentz injury

USA Today Images

Eagles' Super Bowl odds dip after Carson Wentz injury

Carson Wentz's injury is obviously a blow to the Eagles, but the oddsmakers out in Vegas still like them ... just not as much as the Vikings.

The Birds, who began last week as 6/1 favorites in the NFC, now sit at 9/1 according to Bovada after the costly division-clinching win over the Rams in LA on Sunday that cost Wentz his season with a torn left ACL.

While not a huge hit, the dip in odds still dropped the Eagles from the favorites perch in the NFC. Now Minnesota is the conference favorite at 8/1. The Vikings, who lost to Carolina on Sunday, were 17/2 at the beginning of last week.

So, if we read into the odds, the Wentz injury, according to oddsmakers, helps the Vikings more than it hurts the Eagles. Super Bowl 52, of course, will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, home of the Vikings.

The Rams (12/1 to 16/1) and Saints (10/1 to 14/1) also saw drops this week after losses. The Packers saw the biggest jump in the NFC, going from 33-1 to 18-1 after an OT win and Cleveland and with Aaron Rodgers return on the horizon.

Heading into next week's game at the Giants, the Eagles sit as the top seed in the NFC with the Vikings, Rams and Saints following in order.

Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

Nightmare confirmed: Carson Wentz has torn ACL

Doug Pederson took to the lectern at the NovaCare Complex early Monday afternoon to deliver the horrible, yet inevitable, news the entire city hoped would never come. 

Carson Wentz did indeed tear his left ACL. 

His magical 2017 season is over. 

From the time Wentz walked off the field with a knee injury late in the third quarter on Sunday afternoon, some fans immediately gave into the gloom, while others tried to hold out hope. 

In the end, everyone is disappointed. 

"I hate it for Carson Wentz," Pederson said. "I hate it for the season that he's been having. But at the same time, it's been the next-man-up mentality and that's how we approach it." 

Pederson claimed he believes his team can overcome this monumental loss. He believes in Nick Foles, who will now take over as the team's starting quarterback. 

But for a team that has already suffered huge losses this season, this one hurts the most. Wentz had been playing at an MVP level in his second NFL season and just broke the Eagles' record for touchdown passes in a season. 

That record 33rd touchdown pass came four plays after Wentz tore his left ACL on a play where he dove into the end zone for a touchdown that was called back. Wentz finished the drive even with the significant injury and his toughness left his teammates in awe (see story).

Pederson said that while watching the film of that diving play, it appeared Wentz actually suffered the torn ACL before the dive — it looked like a non-contact injury. 

The FOX game broadcast shows how limited Wentz's mobility was for those next four plays. After he threw the touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, Wentz didn't even celebrate with his teammates as he typically would; he simply walked off the field. 

Pederson found out the bad news on Monday morning but said a surgery date was not yet discussed, although players often have to wait for swelling to subside before going under the knife. Pederson said the report he was given said there was damage only to the ACL, no other ligaments. 

The head coach declined to give any type of timetable for Wentz's return. But if Wentz heals at the normal rate of an NFL athlete, there's a good chance he'll miss some time during spring workouts next offseason and possibly even training camp. 

Foles will become the Eagles' starting quarterback, while third-stringer Nate Sudfeld will be promoted to backup. Pederson expects Wentz — who greeted his teammates in the locker room after Sunday's win — will still be around the team as much as he can. 

"A lot like Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters and these guys," Pederson said. "He can be around and be in the meeting room. He can watch the tape. Even as much as being there on game day and being another set of eyes for the quarterbacks and Nick. And having his input, having him around the guys too would be a big boost. And obviously, an opportunity for him now to put the coaching hat on and to help Nick."